Stop the poisonous spraying of Accabonac and Napeague Harbors

A petition launched by the signatories

The State of Connecticut banned it in coastal areas in 2013.

The towns of East Hampton and Southampton oppose its use locally.

Our State Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. opposes its use and has co-sponsored bills to stop its application on our bays and harbors.

Yet, Suffolk County persists in its annual spraying of the poisonous pesticide methoprene on our marshlands. County officials say they have no intention of heeding local appeals, and vow to continue the annual noxious and noisy helicopter sprayings.

The county says it’s necessary to combat mosquitoes. But methoprene does far more than kill mosquito larvae: methoprene is highly toxic to some species of invertebrates. It’s lethal to crustacean larvae — immature lobsters and crabs — which is why Connecticut made its use illegal under most circumstances. What’s more, studies have shown that methoprene is believed to kill the larvae of certain other non-target insects, including dragonflies, which feed voraciously on mosquitoes. And, the chemical’s long-term effects on ecosystems and human health remain unstudied, which is a significant concern.

Methoprene is so widely recognized as toxic to lobsters — and suspected as one of the causes of the decline of the lobster fishery in Long Island Sound — that U.S. Senator Christopher Murphy of Connecticut and other top Connecticut officials asked Governor Andrew Cuomo to join Connecticut and ban its use on Long Island and New York. The governor has so far ignored the request.

Methoprene is a poison that has no place in our treasured local waters, which are under ever-increasing assault from surface and ground-source contamination due to human activity. Moreover, the spraying of methoprene has and continues to harm lobster and crab populations, living resources that are vital to our local economy, quality of life, and culture.

Stand against poisons in our beloved natural places, our bays and harbors. Join the fight against methoprene spraying on South Fork marshlands, beginning with Accabonac Harbor in Springs and Napeague Harbor in Amagansett, by signing this petition. Only through our sheer numbers followed by our plan to use this petition as a powerful political tool will we get the attention of county politicians to order a stop to the spraying and put an end to this wasteful, poisonous government program.

Note: The county is contemplating a temporary cessation of methoprene use on a small area of local marshlands to determine if the spraying has any measurable effect on mosquito populations. That’s not a commitment to stop spraying. Sign this petition to push for a broader ban and a long-term commitment to end the use of this pesticide in and around our waters.

Eliminating pesticide spraying is just the first step to building healthier marshlands that, among other things, includes measures that reduce nuisance mosquito populations.

Petition launched by
Biddle and Idoline Duke • Edwin von Gal • Mica Marder • Defend H20 • Accabonac Protection Committee

Springs, N.Y.

More info on methoprene:

This entry was posted in Accabonac Protection Committee, East Hampton, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Stop the poisonous spraying of Accabonac and Napeague Harbors

  1. I think this is fear mongering.
    A scientific review of the data does not support the above statements in regard to lobsters:

    Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
    Volume 139, May 2017, Pages 335–343
    Environmental safety review of methoprene and bacterially-derived pesticides commonly used for sustained mosquito control
    By Sharon P. Lawler

    Excerpt from this scholarly review:

    Some smaller crustaceans, including freshwater zooplankton and
    larvae of marine crustaceans, showed toxic effects of methoprene in
    laboratory or mesocosm studies at relatively high levels (50 μg/kg) but
    sometimes also at the lower levels expected in mosquito control (Chu
    et al., 1997; Pauley et al., 2015). However, studies of field applications
    have not detected effects on zooplankton abundances (e.g., Norland and
    Mulla, 1975, Niemi et al., 1997, Davis and Peterson, 2008).
    Walker and colleagues showed negative effects on lobster larvae of
    2–50 μg/kg methoprene, which is in the range used in mosquito
    control, and also demonstrated that methoprene may become concentrated
    in some lobster tissues with chronic exposure (Walker et al.,
    2005). Mysid shrimp embryos showed small differences in hatching rate
    and development time at 1 μg/kg and larger changes at 100 μg/kg, and
    there were non-significant trends toward decreased survival of larvae
    (Ghekiere et al., 2007).
    These occasional findings of methoprene toxicity to marine crustaceans
    have caused concern. Local effects are possible if methoprene is
    applied to marsh habitat where mysids occur, or to marshes that are very
    close to oceanic habitats where lobsters occur. However, environmental
    modeling and field data suggest that widespread effects are highly
    unlikely. Any runoff from applications to coastal marshes would encounter
    vast dilution from the ocean (Miller et al., 2005). Zulkosky et al. (2005)
    provided evidence consistent with this model in that methoprene was not
    detectable in Long Island Sound waters in 2003, despite being used in
    many adjacent marshes and other waters on the island.

  2. There is a reason that we spray against insects! They transmit diseases to humans and these can be deadly: Eastern Equine Encephalitis; West Nile Virus; Malaria, Filariasis; and emerging mosquito-borne diseases.

    As with everything in life, one needs to weigh the pros and cons very carefully. I am not convinced that methoprene is the poison it is hyped up to be.

  3. Legislator Bridget Fleming says:

    Thank you for your advocacy! I too am deeply concerned about adverse efforts of methoprene. I do need to point out it is absolutely incorrect that “County officials have no intention of heeding local appeals”. As your County Legislator, I asked Vector control to sit down with the East Hampton Trustees earlier this year and here are a number of good steps that came out of the meeting:

    I pushed for the Vector Control 2017 Annual Plan of Work to be amended to include language that Vector Control work together with the Trustees to undertake educational efforts, and wetlands management measures, with a goal of reducing or eliminating the use of methoprene.

    I’ve contacted the County Wetlands Stewardship Committee to ask that the Trustees be represented on the Committee. I expect the Committee to meet this summer and will consider that concern.

    The new director of Vector Control has also invited the trustees to suggest a site to conduct a pilot program that would include the elimination of methoprene. I am support that effort.
    We’ve made small but real progress toward the reduction and elimination of methoprene spraying in the district, and I’m grateful to advocates who have worked so hard on the goal. I look forward to continuing to work with you to restore our natural ecosystems and eliminate toxic spraying.

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